Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Open letter to John McCain

Senator John McCain appeared on Tuesday's Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and Jon asked John a refreshingly direct question: "Is Dick Cheney insane?"

The good Senator did his best to jovially evade the question, with a rehearsed joke about Scooter Libby, but Jon Stewart pressed the point: "Where does [Cheney] have the balls to sit in front of you [McCain] and say that ["measures" without saying "torture"] could work? ... You of all people know that torture doesn't work."

McCain responded: "Look, I've known Dick Cheney for 25 years. I know that he loves this country and I know that he's doing what he thinks is best. We have an honest difference of opinion. I believe that it's important that we stick with this legislation [to require that all interrogations, including by the CIA, conform to existing military regulations], and by the way, so does Colin Powell, so do all the senior military officers I know, former Secretaries of State, and others, and I think we ought to get this thing done and fight the war on terror and win the war in Iraq."

Here is an open letter I just sent to John McCain through his Senate website:

Senator McCain,

I am not a constituent, so I cannot expect a personal reply. However, I feel it is important to tell you that Jon Stewart was not joking when he asked you if Vice-President Cheney is insane. Not only is he not joking, he voices a question that millions of patriotic Americans are also asking. I am not a Republican, but I stand foursquare with you in opposing any suggestion that the United States should ever jeopardize the moral authority from which we denounce other countries that condone (or even gloss over) torture.

Saying that torture is acceptable is more than "an honest difference of opinion" between two Americans who love this country.

I urge you to continue to stand valiantly against the dangerous excesses of the Bush-Cheney camp. They dishonor both America and the Republican Party (the Party of Lincoln as well as the Party of Eisenhower and Reagan) by taking such an "ends justify the means" attitude.

— Lincoln Madison
San Francisco, California
I urge everyone reading this blog, Republican or Democrat or Libertarian or Green, from Arizona to Alabama and from Washington to West Virginia, or even Croatia or the Ukraine or Malaysia, to write Senator McCain a short, polite note of support for his continuing stance against the erosion of America's moral authority on the issue of torture.